GEO5900 – Chemical processes in soil and ground water

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 we plan for teaching and examinations to be conducted as described in the course description and on semester pages. However, changes may occur due to the corona situation. You will receive notifications about any changes at the semester page and/or in Canvas.

Spring 2020: Teaching and examinations was digitilized. See changes and common guidelines for exams at the MN faculty spring 2020.

Course content

The main geochemical reactions controling the chemical composition of soil and ground water are treated in detail, and how these can be quantified and used in interpreting different processes effecting the water quality. Equilibria and kinetics in water-mineral-gas systems are covered, with special emphasis on CO2 - carbonate reactions, mineral weathering, redox-reactions, ion exchange, sorption, and pollution of organic chemicals. An understanding of these procecces and a corresponding quantification is required to predict the effect of contaminant spill and human influence. Lectures and home works are accompanied by training in computer modeling of geochemical reactions and transport of solutes in groundwater.

Learning outcome

To give advanced MSc students an understanding of main chemical interaction processes among natural waters and the solid constituents of soils and aquifers, and not least how these processes can be quantified and simulated.

Knowledge aims:

  • Be able to identify and define the major processes and reactions taking place in soil- and groundwater systems
  • Be able to describe and quantify these processes separately and in concert

Level of skills: After finishing the class, the student should be able

  • evaluate the main processes giving rise to the chemical composition of soil- and groundwater systems
  • calculate equilibrium concentrations of major species in pore water in contact with minerals and solid surfaces
  • perform computer simulations of equilibrium and kinetic reactions of a wide range of water-rock systems.
  • perform simple computer simulations of reactive transport

Admission to the course

Students at UiO register for courses and exams in Studentweb.

Formal prerequisite knowledge

Basic training in chemistry; KJM1000 – Introduction to chemistry (discontinued) or similar classes.

Physical chemistry/chemical thermodynamics in addition to general knowledge in chemistry, physics and geosciences


Intensive class over three weeks in spring semester. There is an introductory part separated from the core instruction period. There are regular class-room teaching and computer exercises, homework problems to be handed in and an individual modeling project report to be submitted.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


The individual project report counts 50% of the total grade, the final exam counts 50% of total grade.

The final exam is oral or written depending on the number for students registered on the course.

The homework problems and modelling report must be approved prior to the final exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt. It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course if you sit the exam for one of the following courses:

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Sep. 27, 2020 10:13:00 PM

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